Photography by Abigail Varney.
Photography by Abigail Varney.
Things we are thinking about,
people we've met and what’s on in Canberra.
WHEN Friday 2 June from 6:30PM
WHERE Nishi Gallery
WHEN Opens on Friday 9 June at 6PM and runs until Sunday 9 July
WHERE Nishi Gallery
WHEN Sunday 14 May, 11AM - 1PM
WHERE The Shed, Hotel Hotel
WHEN Saturday 27 May at 8PM
WHEN Friday 5 May at 8PM
WHEN Saturday 22 April at 8PM
Jessica Tremp came to stay and she took some photos while she was here. We made a visual essay with them.
Jessica Tremp came to stay and she took some photos while she was here. We made a visual essay with them.
Making your own filo pastry takes a long time so I propose you use the shop bought Fillo Pastry brand. It has a nice crunchy texture and you can get it at most supermarkets.
Set yourself up on your work bench and lay the pastry flat. Separate the sheets with lots of care and brush each sheet one with the melted butter and sprinkle icing sugar over them to sweeten the crust. Repeat this with ten sheets and lay the sheets one on top over the other.
Just a side note on butter. Contrary to popular belief, butter is not the villain everyone says it is, especially if you use real, good quality butter. I suggest the unsalted Pepe Saya, it’s perfect.
Work quickly as the filo pastry tends to dry out.
Then cut the sheets in two length wise and in three width wise, this will give you six bases. Put each one into a baking tin that are around 5 centimeters in diameter (a muffin tin will work).
Don’t forget to press the base all around the tins to avoid them cooking into a funny shape.
Now it’s time to bake them at 180° Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes.Ricotta cream
Use an electric mixer and the paddle attachment to gently work the cream cheese for five minutes.
Then add the sugar and vanilla with love.
Before adding the ricotta the cream must be soft and fluffy. If it is go ahead and finish it with the secret ingredient – rose water.Toppings
Take your filo cases out of the oven and let them cool a little. Then fill them to the top with the ricotta cream. Depending on how you feel top with as many lychees and raspberries as you want.
Arrange them and decorate them with the rose petals. These are really nice served with vanilla ice cream or berry sorbet. Or you can drizzle them with honey and eat them as they are.
You can’t walk into a Xylouris White gig and not not walk out a little different.
They tap into something primal, spiritual? – they blow away the modern skins of the body and leave you with just your ancient bones.
Through them we get to connect to our distant past. A reflex. It’s not music from someplace but music from everyplace. It’s music that reminds us that, despite our differences, inside, in this way, we are all the same.
Xylouris White came to play for us in the Monster Salon and Dining rooms on Saturday 11 March.
Xylouris White are George Xylouris and Jim White. Together their music is one of conversation and shared authorship. George is a Cretan singer and lute player – an instrument with a history of more than 3000 years that crosses borders like few others do. He sings in a deep baritone that vibrates through your core. Jim White is part of Melbourne’s enormously and long loved instrumental rock trio ‘Dirty Three’. He moves like a deep sea animal gliding from soldier's beats to ferocious to soft delicate sounds.
But first, we ate. Monster kitchen and bar chef Sean McConnell made us dinner based on things he had eaten on a recent trip to Athens. We served each other from small plates of fava beans, chicory and calamari. Pan-fried haloumi with tiny slivers of okra. Baked eggplant with Labna. Fish bones piled up on our plates as we ate sardines and small red fish in barbounaki style. We drank Ouzo and wine from Kelafonia, Thessaloniki and the Peloponnese.
Then came the music. The corked walls, terrazzo floors and low-hung perforated panelled wooden roof created a resonant sound that you couldn't escape from. There is no stage in there, so it felt like they were playing to us in our own family room.
Xylouris White played for two hours straight, treating us to two traditional syrtos that made the Greeks amongst us that night go a little wild. They twisted back and forth between an unstoppable barrage of power and gooey, transcendental melody. The final two songs had us all on our feet. The sounds they were making together seemed impossible. We were overcome.
Ευχαριστώ. Please come back soon.
Written by Dan Honey and Stéph Donse. Images shot by Will Neill. Song, 'Forging' by Xylouris White from their 'Black Peak' album.
Written by Dr Anika Ramholdt for the exhibition ‘Not Wow’ – new works by Kirsten Perry shown at Mr Kitly gallery (Melbourne) in October 2016.
Perry’s ceramics works, presented by Mr Kitly, are coming to Canberra to stay a while in the Cabinets on the ground floor. They’ll be on show from Saturday 11 March until Sunday 30 April.
There’s a lot of noise out there. Amidst the relentless wellness dogma and never-ending dog memes (although they’re pretty awesome), there’s very little space for personal reverie. That’s why it’s so refreshing to encounter objects and spaces (perhaps even people if we’re lucky), which we can experience intuitively rather than intelligibly. Things, which via their modesty, creep up on us slowly and affect us profoundly.
The Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi is pertinent to this idea. Often defined simplistically as a ‘nature based aesthetic paradigm’  that celebrates the imperfect, accidental and modest, wabi-sabi is a complex and arguably indefinable nexus of spiritualism and the material world.
In his writing on wabi-sabi, Leonard Koren attempts to elucidate the characteristics of the aesthetic as private, idiosyncratic, intuitive, variable, natural, crude, ambiguous, impermanent and warm. The wabi-sabi universe, according to Koren, is where ‘things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness’. Its objects and spaces are simultaneously crude and ancient, becoming and decaying. In this realm ‘beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness’  and there is an obvious reverence for materiality, transience and impermanence.
Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic that can be all too easily ascribed to what Koren describes as ‘ostentatious austerity.’ Just because something has the hashtag of #authentic, #rustic or #totesnatural doesn’t mean that it innately typifies the cyclical nature of being and nothingness. We’re not all elevated to a state of spiritual ascension by a roughly whittled spoon, although we might be. Just because you’ve attached the doorknob poorly doesn’t make you a master of Zen balance. Entirely subjective, a wabi-sabi expression for one may be dismissed as insipidly quirky or just plain lazy by another. The essence of wabi-sabi, as I’ve come to understand it, lies in the invocation of transience, the reminder that nothing is permanent and therefore perfection is an impossible ideal.
We live in the wow. Floating in this soup of the over-cooked it’s sometimes nice to swim with the onions, to find something humble, to stumble upon a reliable pulse. Sipping at an ok but not particular wow green smoothie, it occurs to me that it’s hard out there for a Désirée potato; things aren’t what they used to be for white foods. In the ever-changing whirlwind of values and ideals it seems important to make one’s own shrine (metaphorically or otherwise) to that we she finds holy. Inside our private niche we pin and prop the objects, memories, values and experiences that pave the way to our unique ascension. Where personal reverie may eclipse for a moment the onslaught of dogma and dog memes and we can light a candle for poor Désirée, if that’s how we roll.
1 Koren, Leonard, ‘Wabi-Sabi for artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers’ (Berkley, California: Stone Bridge Press, 1994), 9.
2 Koren, 40.
3 Koren, 51.
4 Koren, 72.
Context is a material to work with.
Our memories of particular types of form and their relationship to place can make for architecture dissonance and resonance.
Working with the public realm, moments can be found where the prosaic requirements of a bridge are recognised as a mechanism to frame civic space.
One building for work, another for the weekend – both seek to transform and amplify a material condition.
The words above have been lifted from John Wardle Architect’s recent monograph ‘This Building Likes Me‘. The book assembles thirty-six JWA projects as pairs, documented through photographs, drawings and models. The relationships between these pairs are sometimes obvious and sometimes obscure. It is also littered with short critical essays and reflections on contemporary architectural processes, preoccupations and projects…
The book has been extended from the page to the physical space with an exhibition called ‘Coincidences’. It is an interrogation into the boundaries between public and private spaces. Can a foyer have the intimacy of a living room? How might a house have the civic atmosphere of a university hall? These are questions we like.
This interrogation has been carried out by a number of prominent architectural photographers – Sharyn Cairns, Erieta Attali, Sam Noonan, Kristoffer Paulsen, Brett Boardman, Earl Carter, Peter Hyatt, Dianna Snape, Peter Bennett, John Gollings, Shannon McGrath, Trevor Mein, Max Creasy and artist, Peter Kennedy.
The photographers each visited two JWA buildings and took a single image of each site. The images are presented as a pair; thus drawing out points of commonality, ‘coincidences’, across seemingly unconnected architectural contexts.
We are presenting ‘Coincidences’ at the Nishi Gallery as part of our ongoing study of public and private realms and the ephemeral borders that connect and divide them.
‘Coincidences’ will be on show at the Nishi Gallery until 17 February.
We are having a little shindig on Friday 3 February to celebrate. At the Nishi Gallery from 6PM. Come and have a wine and a chat.
When we asked Italian architect Gianmatteo Romegialli to tell us the history of his friendship with (Italian born and now) Canberra based architect Enrico Taglietti he wrote us a letter.
It’s an introduction to the pair, their mutual passion for, though at times disparate approaches to, architecture. It’s also a reminder that, on all matters, not only architecture, when we start from a place of friendship and love, disagreements help us grow.
On Sunday 15 January Gianmatteo and Enrico will be talking about freedom and constraints, architectural history, heritage and inheritance, breaking orthodoxies, structure, landscape, context and culture, and the beauty and poetry of the built space… And they are letting us listen in.
‘Same Same Different‘, Sunday 15 January at 3PM at the Monster’s Salon and Dining rooms at Hotel Hotel.
Image of one bedder apartment number 716 shot by Scottie Cameron.
This article originally appeared on Assemble Papers. Here. Thanks AP for letting us steal your stories sometimes.
Words and images by Judy Natal.
From geothermal tourist sites in Iceland to the so-called failed experiment of Biosphere 2, the world in Chicago-based photographer Judy Natal’s ‘Future Perfect’ series explores the ever-changing landscapes of Earth and our relationships to them, as humans entangled in a global ecological framework. Here, she describes how she created her vision of the future from fragments of a very real present.
‘Future Perfect’ is an exercise in travelling backwards in time from the future. I wanted to show that the future could be bleak, but as you move through the photos, which start in 2040 and end up in 2010, I wanted people to understand that the Earth we have now is actually very beautiful and alive, and to preserve that we need to be better custodians of the land.
Moving through the decades backwards in time, the colour palette changes from very austere and monochromatic in 2040 as you move back towards 2010, when it starts warming up and the emotional tenor lifts – all of a sudden people are smiling. At the end, the photos are downright romantic.
The three sites you see in ‘Future Perfect’ are very disparate and their selection was very organic. It all started during the construction of the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas: I had been looking at the history of Las Vegas through its neon signage and I wanted to start looking at the Las Vegas of the future. At that time, Las Vegas was calling itself ‘The City of the Future’, which terrified me, but I was also very intrigued.
A few years later, a friend of mine was getting married in Tucson, Arizona, and as a wedding party we visited the Biosphere 2. I knew about the Biosphere 2 project – when I was younger I even wanted to be a ‘Biospherian’ – but in person it was even more impressive than I had imagined. It’s a Bucky Fuller-inspired, gleaming, glass iceberg in this pristine desert canyon and the first time I saw it I knew it was my next logical step from Las Vegas. I wrote to Biosphere 2 and asked if I could do a residency and, eventually, after more than six months, they agreed. In my mind, Biosphere 2 is a man-made wonder of the world. Towards the end of its run it got terrible press – it really had an awful reputation as a failed experiment. But to me, even a failed experiment is valuable because you can learn from it.
These landscapes alone I felt risked being dehumanising, which is why I pursued the portrait element of ‘Future Perfect’ – because people are so remarkable. The steam portraits, taken in Iceland, are these poetic snippets of humanity. There are real moments of uncertainty and fragility in these portraits.
Really, though, ‘Future Perfect’ is about no place. I’m interested in subverting the way we look at photographs; I want to displace the viewer, because it’s only when we’re displaced or uncomfortable that we’re forced to reach out and ask ourselves the meaning of things. Place for me is a canvas – a springboard to create these metaphoric acts of interpretations of the landscape and of the world as we know it.
I think some of the most powerful works of art are the ones that really want to enact change and shake the rafters, and I think you can do that without being dogmatic. I’m not wagging my finger at anyone in my work because I’m implicated along with everyone else – I drive a car, I fly in planes, I buy food wrapped in plastic – but I think my role as a photographer is to ask questions.
The project I’m working on now is about the weather. Recently I was speaking to a publisher about another work of mine, Another Storm is Coming (2016), which commemorates the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Flippantly, they said to me, ‘This is a local issue,’ and I had to respectfully disagree. These so-called ‘natural’ disasters are not local issues – they’re global issues. And the sooner we can think about them that way, the better our choices will be as we write the future now.”
Thanks to Judy Natal for generously sharing her ‘Future Perfect’ photo series with us. For more photographs and information on what Judy is up to, visit her website here.
Art, Dance, Design, Eat Drink, Film, Live, Market, Music, Party, Shop, Talk, Walkabout, Workshop
Cult classics, timeless classics, and fringe dwelling gems. A really good film club.
|WHEN||Usually the second and last Sundays of each month at 1PM|
|COST||$50 per annum|
Two essential documentaries commemorating two landmark moments in activism by Indigenous Australians - 'Fire of the Land' and 'Freedom Ride'.
|WHEN||Screening until Friday 28 April from 9.15PM to 5PM weekdays, looped with intermissions.|
Classic film noir screenings from filmmakers who were controversially blacklisted in the 1950s (and beyond) because of their suspected communist sympathies.
|WHEN||Friday 21 April at 7PM and 26 April at 7.15PM|
As you can imagine, over the past decade or so, the ANU have amassed a pretty epic art collection.
|WHEN||Friday 21 April to Sunday 28 May|
|WHERE||Drill Hall Gallery, ANU|
Vee Malnar paints portraits of household objects. With them come reflections on mothering and multi-tasking, on identity in the chaos of housework.
|WHEN||Until Sunday 30 April|
|WHERE||Belconnen Arts Centre|
Award-winning photographer Darren Bradley has trekked all over the world documenting the most iconic and celebrated architectural buildings. Yet, Canberra is the city that has struck a chord.
|WHEN||Thursday 27 April at 6:30PM|
Sally Blake’s solo exhibition at ANCA Gallery exploring the elements of fire and rain.
|WHEN||Exhibition runs 12 April – 30 April|
Four emerging female artists of Chinese descent explore the complex and shifting nature of cultural difference, identity and migrant stories in ‘multicultural' Australia.
|WHEN||Exhibition runs 27 April - 21 May|
Glitoris are bringing Girls to the Front. A night celebrating that there are in fact at least three bands in the ACT comprised mostly of females.
|WHEN||Friday 28 April from 8PM|
The CIMF theme this year is 'Revolution' - music from the barricades of time. With twenty curated concerts, talks and dinners.
|WHEN||Thursday 27 April to Sunday 7 May|
|WHERE||All around Canberra|
Art Talk Walkabout
The Heritage Festival peeps are exploring ‘Questions and Change’; the festival will facilitate conversation around Indigenous inclusion and recognition through art, architecture and the bush.
|WHEN||Tuesday 18 April to 7 May|
|WHERE||Lots of different locations|
A new body of work by Luke Chiswell that continues his exploration of objects within space, abstracting perception and scale.
|WHEN||Opens Friday 7 April at 6PM. On show until Sunday 7 May 2017.|
A newly commissioned triptych by Filipino artist, Rodel Tapaya - 'The promise land: the moon, the sun, the stars' (2016), as well as paintings, works on paper and sculptural installations.
|WHEN||Until Sunday 20 August|
|WHERE||NGA, Contemporary galleries|
The ever amazing Pipilotti Rist is in town with this immersive projection work that asks you to slow down, step inside the human, and dissolve your mind.
|WHEN||Until Sunday 20 August|
|WHERE||National Gallery of Australia|
49 works chosen from 3000 entries - choosing the final 49 would have been a super hard job. Photographic portraits taken by Australian photographers - this is definitely one to go to.
|WHEN||Saturday 1 April to Sunday 18 June|
|WHERE||National Portrait Gallery|
Melbourne’s Mr Kitly presents ‘Not Wow’ by Kirsten Perry. It’s a series of totems of moments that hold personal significance alluding to folk craftsmanship and subconscious spiritual rituals.
|WHEN||Saturday 11 March – Sunday 30 April|
|WHERE||Hotel Hotel Cabinets|
A major Skyspace by American artist James Turrell. It's a beauty - a pyramid, a stupa, a viewing chamber, an offering to and from the sun gods.
|WHEN||Every day at sunset and sunrise|
|WHERE||National Gallery of Australia|
Yoga with a view. Classes are free for Hotel Hotel guests. Just ask for a code at reception and book online.
|WHEN||Monday 6.15PM to 7.30PM. Tuesday 12PM to 1PM, Wednesday 6.45AM to 7.45AM. Thursday 6.15PM to 7.30PM. Saturday 8AM to 9.15AM.|
|WHERE||Level 8, NewActon Nishi 2 Phillip Law Street, Canberra.|
|COST||$18 / free for Hotel Hotel guests (just ask reception for a booking code).|
‘Iconic Australian Houses’ is an exhibition curated by Karen McCartney and presented in partnership with Architecture Foundation Australia. It comes to Canberra via the Sydney Living Museums. The exhibition looks at 30 of the most important Australian homes designed over the past 60 years. Exhibiting until Monday 13 March at the National Archives of Australia, Canberra.
Karen will be giving a tour of the exhibition on Thursday 8th December.
Words by Karen McCartney. Images by Michael Wee.
A full decade has passed since I began research for my first book – ’50/60/70 Iconic Australian Houses’. My research began in my own family home, the Marshall House in New South Wales designed by Bruce Rickard in 1967; and eventually took me all across Australia on a hunt for places worthy of the status the title imposed. Unsurprisingly (to those in the know) I found many of my icons in Canberra.
Everything was to be photographed for the book, we didn’t want to use historical photographs, and the interiors needed to support the architectural intent of the building. I was also keen to reflect the very best in Australian residential architecture and include those that mattered, the ones that broke new ground in terms of how they thought about life, family and community.
I knew that I had to visit every house, to know that it was right and to meet the architect and the owners where possible.
I had done my research on Canberra and could see what potential it offered. Mostly I gleaned my information through the website Canberra House – mid-century architecture and art, (an absolute gem of a website). From my screen I explored the geometry of the Jelinek House, I found that Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds and Harry Seidler had worked in Canberra extensively (although one of my rules was one house per architect), and I admired the pared back strength of Dirk Bolt’s vision.
With a project like this you often (Blanche DuBois style) depend on the kindness of strangers… Particularly on those with a passion for the same thing as you. In this instance it was Tim Reeve, co-author (alongside Alan Roberts) of the very informative title ‘100 Canberra Houses’.
Among the many things Tim did for me, he arranged for me to meet with Italian born, Canberra based architect Enrico Taglietti. Taglietti took us on a road tour of his most celebrated buildings in, Tim reminds me now, a tiny Daewoo Matiz. We belted about the city as Taglietti gesticulated out the window at the Australian War Memorial Depository and the Giralang Primary School.
We ended up in one of Taglietti’s houses – the Dingle House, in Hughes – where we met the owners and Taglietti explained the ideas behind the house and the clever and thoughtful detailing and aesthetics that defined it.
One of the great things about doing a project like this is hearing the stories of others and Taglietti’s is one that I particularly love. He spoke of his life in Italy where he studied architecture under key figures including Bruno Zevi and Pier Luigi Nervi. Of how he attended a summer school with Le Corbusier and, while working at the Milan Triennale, he met Alvar Aalto, Oscar Neimeyer, and Buckminster Fuller. What is remarkable is that coming from Italy, in 1955, he appreciated Canberra for its lack of history and its sense of a clean slate for architectural endeavour.
“There is a concept I’d always been attached to: the principle that to be a modern architect, one has to severe oneself totally from the past and ask questions as though nothing existed before, Canberra was the ideal place’, Taglietti said.
This exhibition is full of such stories, because nothing extraordinary comes easily, and it points to different times when materials were scarce and homes were modest. I feel proud to have gathered these stories from all across Australia, as different styles developed for different geographies, climates and eras. To that end the exhibition is themed, rather than taking a chronological approach as the books do, and draws threads across materials, design treatments and concepts, through time. But most of all it is the people I have met and the understanding I have gained of landscape, architecture, innovation and ways of living that gives me the greatest sense of achievement.